Victims in medical helicopter crash identified

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – The staff at Christus St. Vincent Hospital are mourning Friday after three well-known hospital employees were killed Thursday.

David Cavigneaux, 46, Rebecca Serkey, 29 and Jamie Butler, 46, died when a medical helicopter crashed in eastern New Mexico early Thursday morning.

TriState CareFlight owns the chopper that left the hospital late Wednesday night to pick up a patient in Tucumcari. Sometime later, the company lost contact with the chopper.

Around 3 a.m. Thursday, state police started searching for it. But it was ranch owners who saw it on a mesa off I-40 in Newkirk, east of Santa Rosa.

“When the landowner’s employee located the wreckage, it was fully engulfed in flames in the side of a mountain, kind of a rocky hillside,” Sgt. Damyan Brown said.

The company released the following statement Friday:

We at TriState CareFlight (TSCF) are grieving the loss of three admired members of our emergency medical transport family. TriState CareFlight (TSCF) is assisting the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in its initial investigation of the wreckage of an TSCF emergency medical helicopter early Thursday morning in eastern New Mexico. The NTSB will provide further details as the investigation continues. Our thoughts are for their families and friends in remembering the commitment to saving lives.

The FAA and NTSB are investigating what caused the crash. Clouds were low and the wind was gusting at the time.

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